Budín de Plátano

Budin de Platano

“Budín” or “bread pudding” in English, is a dessert that makes use of stale bread, although fresh bread works just as well. Variations of the dish can be found around the world.

When my suegra lived with us she often made “budín de guineo” or “banana bread pudding.” I decided to try my hand at making a traditional Salvadoran budín today, but instead of bananas, I made use of 2 ripe plantains I had on hand in a “budín de plátano.”

As usual, I consulted several authentic recipes before developing my own version and Carlos loves it. I hope you give it a try!

Budín de Plátano

Ingredients:

2 large ripe plantains
2 eggs
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
(plus 1 tablespoon unsalted butter for greasing the Pyrex)
2 tablespoons flour
1/2 cup 1% milk
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup white sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
4 pieces of white sandwich bread cut into cubes

ground cinnamon

Optional: a handful of raisins

Note: Although I haven’t tried it yet, I imagine 3-4 large bananas can be substituted for the plantains without any problem.

Directions:

1. Cut the ends off each plantain and then cut into the peel lengthwise to remove the peel. Place the peeled plantains in an ungreased Pyrex at 350 F for 25 to 30 minutes until you can squish them with a fork. Remove from the oven and allow to cool for a few minutes.

2. In a food processor set to “mince”, process the plantains. Next add the eggs and process until combined.

3. Combine the following ingredients one-by-one, into the food processor. Each time you add a new ingredient, process until combined for a few seconds: 2 tablespoons melted butter, flour, milk, salt, sugar, vanilla extract. [If using raisins, you can now stir them in with a spoon.]

4. In a greased 7×11 Pyrex, place the cubes of bread in an even layer. Pour the plantain mixture evenly over top of the bread cubes. Sprinkle with ground cinnamon and bake at 350 F for 30 minutes. The budín is finished when it’s firm, sides are lightly browned, and a knife inserted in the middle comes out clean.

5. Allow to cool. You can cut and serve from the pan as is or try the alternate method below.

Optional alternate method: To make the budín especially pretty, use a third cooked plantain or banana cut into circles. Lay the circles on the bottom of the greased Pyrex before adding the bread cubes and batter. When the budín is done baking and has cooled, you can invert it (flip it over) into a larger 9×13 Pyrex. The plantain or banana circles will make for a very pretty presentation.

Budin de Platano, Salvadoran Plantain Bread Pudding

Damas

Damas, Checkers, photo by David Mejia

Today is Spanish Friday so this post is in Spanish. If you participated in Spanish Friday on your own blog, leave your link in comments. Scroll down for English translation!

Primero quiero saber, ¿por qué le llaman a este juego “damas” en español? Tiene que existir una historia interesante sobre eso. ¿Tal vez sólo las mujeres jugaban? ¿Tal vez es porque lo que llamamos “reyes” en el juego de damas en inglés son “reinas” en español? Ni modo, hoy estoy hablando del juego damas porque me di cuenta que Carlos tiene reglas por el juego muy diferentes que las reglas que tenemos en los Estados Unidos y quiero saber si es cosa de Carlos y sus amigos de la niñez, algo de El Salvador, o algo de América Latina. (O tal vez yo he estado jugando mal!)

El otro día Carlos y nuestro hijo menor estaban jugando damas y mi hijo se quejó de que su padre estaba tratando de engañar. Llegué a la mesa donde estaban jugando y le pregunté qué estaba pasando. Carlos dijo que sólo estaba tratando de mover su pieza, pero nuestro hijo dijo que no la estaba moviendo bien. Le dije a Carlos que me mostrara lo que quería hacer, ¡y él procedió a recoger a su pieza y volar al otro lado del tablero!

Cuando le dije que no podía hacer eso, dijo que él y sus amigos hacían eso cuando jugaban a las damas. (También me dijo que su tablero era dibujado a mano sobre cartón. Sus piezas eran tapas de botellas, casi igual que el juego de damas en la foto.)

Otra regla extraña que Carlos trató de aplicar al juego: Si nuestro hijo no aprovechó la oportunidad para saltar una de las piezas de Carlos cuando era posible, Carlos quería llevar la pieza de nuestro hijo como castigo.

Entonces, ¿estas son reglas que Carlos inventó o simplemente otra variación del juego?

Image source: David Mejia

[ENGLISH TRANSLATION]

First of all, I want to know why checkers is called “damas” in Spanish. There must be an interesting story about how that came about. Maybe only women played? Maybe it’s because what we call “kings” in the game of checkers in English are “reinas” (queens) in Spanish? Anyway, today I’m talking about the game of checkers because I noticed Carlos has rules for the game that are different from the rules we have in the United States and I want to know if it’s a Carlos thing he made up with his childhood friends, an El Salvador thing, or a Latin American thing. (Or maybe I’m the one whose been playing wrong!)

The other day Carlos and our youngest son were playing checkers and my son complained that his father was trying to cheat. I came to the table where they were playing and asked Carlos what was going on. Carlos said he was just trying to move his piece, but our son said he wasn’t moving it right. I asked Carlos to show me what he wanted to do and he proceeded to pick up his piece and fly all the way to the other side of the board!

When I said you can’t do that, he said that he and his friends used to do that when they played checkers. (He also told me that his checkerboard was hand drawn on cardboard. The pieces were bottle caps, almost the same as in the photo at the top of the post.)

Another strange rule Carlos tried to apply to the game: If our son didn’t take advantage of an opportunity to jump one of Carlos’s pieces when it was possible, Carlos wanted to take our son’s piece as punishment.

So, are these rules Carlos invented or simply a variation of the game?

Más y Menos – Guatemalan Cartoon Characters!

masymenos

Last night my 12 year old begged me to watch a cartoon called Teen Titans Go! with him. Honestly, I’m not at all into super hero stuff so this show didn’t appeal to me at all, but he promised me this particular episode had two characters who only speak Spanish. (He knows how to get my attention!)

I ended up really enjoying the episode and the characters named Más y Menos. The episode had an impressive amount of Spanish in it and some good lessons for kids built in. Here’s a clip of the twins Más y Menos making and serving tamales to their friends.

I later looked up more information online, and as suggested by the mention of “tamales de Guatemala” in the episode, the twins are in fact supposed to be Guatemalan. (Although they’re voiced by Chicago-born Freddy Rodriguez whose parents are Puerto Rican.)

Anyway, I thought it was really awesome to have some Central American representation in a popular cartoon and I hope the creators make Más y Menos regular characters.

My only suggestion to the creators: When the characters say “¡Los Tamales de Guatemala!” you see and hear mariachi. While mariachi can be found in Guatemala, that’s obviously more of a Mexican thing. It would have been awesome if instead you had used some traditional Guatemalan marimba music like this:

The use of Mexican culture subbed in for other Latin American culture is something you see often in television and movies. Mexican culture is more familiar to audiences in the United States so I think that is part of why it happens, but when characters are not Mexican then you’re doing a disservice to both the Mexican culture and the true culture of the character. I’d like to see Hollywood break away from that so audiences can have a more diverse experience and expand their knowledge of cultures throughout the world. Subbing in Mexican culture for every Latin American culture only feeds into the wrong belief that “All Latinos are the same.”

As Más y Menos say, “Para crecer como una persona, necesitas que abrirte a nuevas experiencias.”

You can watch the full episode of Teen Titans Go! featuring the characters Más y Menos here and on Cartoon Network.

5 Minute Microwave Tamal de Elote “Mug Cake”

Tamal de Elote Sweet Corn "Mug Cake"

The other night, right before bedtime, Carlos got a craving for something sweet. After opening and closing the kitchen cabinets multiple times, he finally came to me with desperation in his eyes, “Isn’t there anything you can make me?”

I ended up making him a banana bread mug cake recipe I found on the internet. I personally love mug cakes but Carlos wasn’t impressed. When I served it to him he complained that it was more like a banana tamal than banana bread because of the texture. Inspiration struck and I vowed that I would see if I could make a tamal de elote in the microwave using this popular “mug cake” method.

This morning I finally had a chance to experiment. I nervously put the batter into the coffee mug, set the microwave to 3 minutes on high, crossed my fingers and hit “START.” After the microwave beeped, I pulled the mug out, inverted it onto a little plate and was super excited to see the texture was what I had hoped for. But how would it taste? I took a tentative bite and celebrated. Tamal de elote! From a microwave!

I let my older son try it and he declared it “really good.” When I made a second one just to double check my recipe, he ended up eating that one too. If you’re not familiar with tamles de elote (corn tamales), this “mug cake” tastes exactly like Chi-Chi’s sweet corn cake to me. Give it a try and tell me what you think!

Easy Microwave Tamal de Elote

5 Minute Microwave Tamal de Elote “Mug Cake”

Ingredients:

3 tablespoons Maseca instant corn masa flour
2 tablespoons sugar
a pinch of salt
1/8 teaspoon baking powder
1/8 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 cup canned cream style sweet corn (I used Green Giant brand)
1 tablespoon melted unsalted butter
1 tablespoon 1% milk
cooking spray

Directions:

1. Mix the dry ingredients in a small bowl with a fork. Make sure the measurements are exact and not rounded.

2. Mix the corn and melted butter. Add the milk and stir to combine.

3. Pour the wet mixture into the dry mixture. Mix until combined.

4. Spray the inside of a regular sized micowave safe coffee mug with cooking spray. (You don’t need a tall coffee mug like you do for some “mug cake” recipes as the tamal doesn’t rise very much.)

5. Pour the batter into the mug. Micowave on high for 3 minutes. (Micowave time may vary depending on the type of microwave you have.)

6. Carefully remove the mug from the microwave and put a small plate on top. Flip upside down to invert the “tamal” (or corn cake) onto the plate. Serve and enjoy!

Serving suggestions: While great as is for a treat or dessert, you can serve with a little Salvadoran crema at breakfast or alongside a dinner as a side dish.

Sweet Corn Microwave Mug Cake

13 Gifs Only Latinos Married to Gringas Will Understand

Today is Spanish Friday so this post is in Spanish. If you participated in Spanish Friday on your own blog, leave your link in comments. English translation is in italics!

Aunque estos gifs estan basados en la experiencia personal de Carlos, si eres un Latino/a casado con una gringa/o, tal vez identificas con algunos de ellos. (Y si eres una gringa/o casado con Latino/a, chequea este post: 20 Gifs Only Gringas Married to Latinos Can Understand.)

Although these are based on Carlos’s personal experience, if you’re a Latino/a married to a gringa/o, you may identify with some of these. (And if you’re a gringa/o married with a Latino/a, check out this post: 20 Gifs Only Gringas Married to Latinos Can Understand.)

#1. borednow

Cuando vas a una “fiesta” de tus suegros gringos y no hay música o baile.

When you go to your gringo in-laws “parties” and there’s no music or dancing.

#2. nothing-can-do

Cuando estás tratando de ver las noticias en español y tu esposa quiere saber por qué hay mujeres semidesnudas en la pantalla.

When you’re just trying to watch the Spanish-language news and your wife wants to know why there’s half-naked women on the screen.

#3. shock

Cuando tu esposa usa palabras en español que aprendió de la música de Pitbull en compañía educada o delante de tu abuela.

When your spouse uses Spanish words she learned from Pitbull’s music in polite company or in front of your abuela.

#4. does-not-get-it

La reacción de tu esposa cuando explicas algo cultural que ella simplemente parece que no puede aceptar, como la necesidad de dar rosas a tu madre en el Día de San Valentín.

Your spouse’s reaction when you explain something cultural to her that she just can’t seem to accept, like the necessity of giving your mother roses on Valentine’s Day.

#5. fight-for-me

Las consecuencias de no defender a tu esposa cuando tu madre criticó a ella.

The aftermath of not defending your spouse when your mother criticized him/her.

#6. naah

La reacción de tu madre cuando le dices que te vas a casar con la gringa.

Your mother’s reaction when you tell her you’re marrying the gringa.

#7. no-michael-scott

Cuando preguntas qué hay de comer y ella dice peanut butter and jelly sandwiches.

When you ask what’s for lunch and she says peanut butter and jelly sandwiches.

#8. Huh_wtf_uhm

Tu reacción cuando tu esposa o suegros gringos permiten que el perro lame la cara.

Your reaction when your spouse or gringo in-laws let their pet dog lick them all over the face.

#9. sad-cold

En Nochebuena, cuando hace frío, tranquilo y solitario y comienzas a sentirte nostálgico por tu país de origen.

On Nochebuena when it’s cold, quiet and lonely and you start feeling nostalgic for home.

#10. who-am-i

Cuando por fin regresas a visitar tu país natal y todos tus familiares te dicen que hablas divertido porque has perdido el acento local y no conoces las últimas palabras coloquiales.

When you finally go back to visit your native country and all your relatives tell you that you speak funny because you’ve lost the local accent and aren’t up on the latest slang.

#11. cool

Cuando la gente se entera de dónde eres y empieza a nombrar todas sus comidas favoritas de tu país.

When people find out where you’re from and start naming all their favorite foods from your country.

#12. calm-down-children

Cuando tu esposa no cree en disciplina corporal y no puedes utilizar la chancla.

When your spouse doesn’t believe in physical discipline so you can’t use the chancla.

#13. imfine

Cuando tienes una discusión con tu esposa y te acusa de gritar.

When you’re having a discussion with your spouse and they accuse you of yelling.

20 Gifs Only Gringas Married to Latinos Can Understand

Well, okay, the title of this post is a little bit specific to my personal experience, but truthfully, a lot of bilingual and/or bicultural people will relate. Which ones ring true for you?

#1. awkward-get-together

When you have a family get-together and you’re sitting between your monolingual English-speaking family and monolingual Spanish-speaking in-laws.

#2. bad-accent-reaction

When you overhear other gringos mispronounce Spanish words, such as “jalapeño” so it sounds like “hala-pee-no.”

#3. do-you-speak-spanish-telemarketer

When telemarketers call your house and ask, “¿Habla español usted, señora?”

#4. yeah-i-understand

When a native Spanish speaker seriously overestimates your fluency and starts talking crazy fast in a dialect or accent you aren’t used to but you have too much pride to ask them to slow down.

#5. husband-likes-your-cooking-better

When your spouse says you cook his/her native food better than your suegra.

#6. i-have-a-right

When you and your spouse get into an argument brought on by cultural differences and you suddenly feel very patriotic.

#7. im-bilingual-girl

When another chick tries to flirt with your spouse right in front of you.

#8. jacksparrow-spying

When you’re in an aisle at the grocery store and people start having what they think is a private conversation out loud in Spanish, not realizing you understand every word.

#9. pigs-feet

When you’re eating at an in-law’s house and they tell you what parts of the animal the food is made from.

#10. should-i-intervene

When you see a native Spanish-speaker struggling to communicate with an impatient cashier in English and you aren’t sure if you should intervene/help them out because you don’t want to offend them.

#11. spanish-genius

When your spouse forgets a word in their native Spanish, and you remember it before they do.

#12. when-suegra-says

When your suegra says something to you in Spanish that has a double meaning and after a few seconds, you realize it was a backhanded compliment meant to insult you.

#13. witch-eyes

When you visit your spouse’s native country and people compliment your eye color.

#14. waitwhat

The way people look at you in a doctor’s waiting room when they call out your Spanish last name and you stand up.

#15. muy-excited

When you forget a Spanish word mid-sentence and you’re like, screw it.

#16. not-sure-gif

When you fill out paperwork and come to the “Are you Hispanic or Latino/a?” question.

#17. do-i

When someone says, “¡Guau! Hablas muy bien el español.”

#18. glam

When you get ready to go to a party or event hosted by Latino friends or family… (or go out for tacos.)

#19. personal-space

When, even after all these years, you still have very strong gringo/a preferences for personal space.

#20. shrug-seinfeld

When newly married bicultural couples ask you and your spouse how you’ve managed to stay together so long and are hoping for some really wise words to guide their marriage.

Cómo Mejorar La Fachada de Tu Casa (¡con poco dinero!)

mejorar-la-fachada

Como miembro del programa Lowe’s Ideas Creativas recibí tarjetas de regalo de Lowe’s para comprar los materiales que necesitaba para completar los proyectos. Todas las opiniones son mías.

En inglés hay algo que se llama “curb appeal” que refiere a la vista de la fachada de tu casa desde la calle. “Curb appeal” es la primera impresión que la gente tienen de tu casa, y por eso es muy importante. Cuando uno tiene poco dinero a veces es muy difícil mantener la casa, pero quiero enseñarte cómo puedes mejorar la fachada y aumentar “curb appeal” con un presupuesto limitado.

Cómo Mejorar La Fachada de Tu Casa (¡con poco dinero!)

El diseño de los jardines en frente de tu casa es una de las cosas más importantes, y puede ser la cosa más cara, pero a veces no tienes que comprar nada. En vez de comprar plantas, es posible que tienes que eliminar or mover plantas, arbustos o árboles que no quedan bien en su lugar.

Te doy este ejemplo. Mira el árbol en la esquina de nuestra casa. Este árbol ha sido una pesadilla desde que nos mudamos aquí. No importaba cuánto lo recortabamos, fue creciendo más y más grande. Como puedes ver, bloqueaba la vista de nuestra casa y empujó el camino de piedra que finalmente terminó torcido.

antes-1

sidewalk-pushed

La solución consistió en cortar el árbol con una motosierra, eliminando tanto del muñón como sea posible por debajo del nivel del suelo. Después arreglamos el camino de piedra, extrayéndolas con una palanca y re-alineandolas.

taking-the-tree-down

sidewalk-straight

Si quitas un árbol tan grande, asegúrate de que tienes una camioneta pick-up, (o un amigo que te ayude.) También pregunta a tu vertedero de basura o reciclaje local si aceptan maleza grande. El costo para dejar nuestra maleza en el centro de reciclaje era alrededor de $20.

Arbustos y árboles que quieres conservar sólo necesitan un ajuste con un cortasetos. Puedes encontrar un cortasetos accesible para pequeños trabajos por menos de $40. Es importante recortar los arbustos no sólo por hacerlos ver bonitos; cuando permites que las plantas toquen la casa pueden causar la formación de moho y cuando dejas que las plantas tocan el terreno, creas un área de bienvenida para las pequeñas criaturas como ratones.

Otras formas económicas para añadir “curb appeal”:

• Actualizar la luz del porche (Compramos una nueva por $20)

• Actualizar los numeros de la casa. Esto no sólo mejora la apariencia de tu casa, ayuda a los socorristas en busca de tu casa durante una emergencia.

• Añadir mantillo fresco alrededor del landscaping (El precio medio es $3 por bolsa en mi tienda Lowe’s)

mulching

• Utilizar una lavadora a presión o una manguera para limpiar la casa.

• Si tus contraventanas pierden su color, retiralas con cuidado, ponerlas en periódico sobre el césped, y darles una nueva capa de pintura. (Nuestras contraventanas son de plástico así que utilizamos una pintura en aerosol de marca Valspar específicamente para el plástico.)

• Añadir una planta de temporada cerca de la puerta. Me encantan los crisantemos anaranjados en esta época del año.

flowers-by-door

¿Quieren más ideas creativas?

Fall-14-Blogger-Badge-200x200

 

Puedes ver más ideas creativas de Lowe’s si subscribes a su Revista Creative Ideas, o sigues a ellos en Pinterest.

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[ENGLISH TRANSLATION]

As a member of Lowe’s Creative Ideas Network I received gift cards from Lowe’s in order to purchase supplies to complete projects. All opinions are my own.

In English “curb appeal” refers to the view of your house from the street. “Curb appeal” is the first impression people have of your home, and that’s why it’s really important. When one doesn’t have a lot of money it’s difficult to maintain a house, but I want to show you how you can improve the look of your home and add curb appeal with a limited budget.

How to Add Curb Appeal (with just a little money!)

The landscaping in front of your home is one of the most important aspects of curb appeal and it can also be the most expensive, but sometimes you don’t have to buy anything. Instead of buying plants, it’s possible that you actually need to eliminate or move plants, bushes or trees that aren’t right for the place they’re planted.

I’ll give you this example. Look at this tree at the corner of our house. This tree has been a complete nightmare since we moved here. It didn’t matter how much we trimmed it, it kept growing bigger and bigger. As you can see, it blocked the view of our home and it pushed the walkway so much that it ended up crooked.

The solution was to cut the tree down with a chainsaw. We eliminated as much of the trunk as possible below ground so it could be covered over with mulch as if nothing were ever there. We then fixed the walkway by pulling the pavers up with a crowbar and realigning them.

If you take down a tree this big, make sure you have a pick-up truck, (or a friend who’s willing to help.) Also ask your local garbage dump or recycling center if they accept large brush. The cost for us to leave our brush at the recycling center was about $20.

Bushes and trees that you want to keep just need a trim with a hedge trimmer. You can find an affordable hedge trimmer for small jobs for less than $40. It’s important to trim bushes not just to make them look nice; when you permit plants to touch your house, it can cause the formation of mold and when you allow the branches of bushes to grow low to the ground, you create a welcome area for small creatures like mice.

Other economical ways to add curb appeal:

• Update the porch light (We bought a new one for $20)

• Update your house numbers. This doesn’t just improve the look of your home, it helps first responders searching for your house during an emergency.

• Add fresh mulch around the landscaping (The average price is $3 per bag at our Lowe’s)

• Use a pressure washer or hose to clean the exterior of your house.

• If your shutters have faded, remove them carefully, put them atop newspaper on your lawn, and give them a new coat of paint. (Our shutters are plastic so we used a Valspar brand spray paint especially for plastic.)

• Add seasonal plants near the door. I love orange chrysanthemums this time of year.

Want more creative ideas?

Check out more from Lowe’s Creative Ideas Network by subscribing to their Creative Ideas Magazine and E-Newsletter, following them on Pinterest and by seeing what the other Lowe’s Creative Ideas Network members are up to.